April is the Month of the Military Child. On, April 11, I had the honor of signing a proclamation recognizing the courage and sacrifice of Iowa’s military-connected youth and challenging Iowans to “Purple Up.”
Nearly 7,500 military-connected youth call Iowa home. Each day, these children face unique challenges with resiliency and determination.
While their parents train for combat deployments and respond to natural disasters and man-made threats to the homeland, military children serve on the home front — offering support and understanding to the loved ones whose commitment to their nation sometimes means missed birthdays, soccer games and dance recitals.
Seventy-five percent of the military children in Iowa are the sons and daughters of the Iowa National Guard’s citizen-soldiers and airmen, according to data collected by Military OneSource.
In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, the men and women of the Iowa National Guard play a vital role in overseas contingency operations, domestic response missions and aggressive training exercises to remain a ready and reliable force.
Increased demands on the members of the Iowa National Guard often mean increased time away from home and increased responsibility for those left behind.
In 2017, we saw the largest single-unit deployment of soldiers from the Iowa National Guard since 2011. This, along with several smaller deployments of both soldiers and airmen, resulted in more than 300 Iowa youth saying goodbye to a mother or father for an extended period.
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The Month of the Military Child is our opportunity to thank these children not only for their courage and enduring spirit, but for the source of pride and honor they provide to our troops.
This April, I ask you to wear purple for the children who help keep the household running in the absence of their service member, who adapt to ever-changing schedules and absences and overcome the unpredictability. Reach out to the military-connected youth in your classrooms, your neighborhoods and your families and offer your gratitude for the service they undoubtedly provide in supporting, uplifting and encouraging the men and women of the United States armed forces.
Join us in this movement to recognize the youngest and bravest among us by using #PurpleUp on social media throughout April.
• Kim Reynolds is governor of Iowa.